Autorickshaws in Ranchi continued to stay off the roads for the third consecutive day on Friday as discussions between the striking drivers’ association and the transport department failed, a member of the striking drivers’ association has said.
Talks with transport officials failed to address the drivers’ concerns, so the association has decided to continue with the strike, said Ramkumar Singh, working president of Jharkhand state diesel autorickshaw drivers’ association.
“We raised our voice against increasing the seat capacity from three passengers and a driver to five passengers and a driver, which has increased the tax amount from Rs 250 every three months to Rs 500,” he said.
“The association had asked transport officials about the rule under which the seat capacity was increased but neither did official reply nor they were ready to meet the demand of doing away with increased tax, Singh said.
“We have decided to call for a city-wide bandh to protest against the transport department’s failure to meet our demands. ”
He said the association would hold a meeting on Saturday to decide on the date of the bandh.
The association has been on strike since Wednesday to protest against the transport department’s reluctance to issue permits for diesel-run autorickshaws and against police action.
Association members said the strike will continue until the government met their six-point charter of demands, including issuing of fresh permits, demarcation of autorickshaw stands and reducing the tax of seating capacity.
Nagendra Paswan, district transport officer said, “The association stuck to their demands and did we…Now, we will discuss about the association’s demands with the state transport secretary before taking a final decision.”
More than 10,000 diesel-run autos have been off the roads since Wednesday. Commuters continued to suffer in absence of adequate public transport.
Diesel-run autos constitute 40% of the city’s public transport. The 40 buses that ply in the city account for just 1%, while cycle rickshaws make up 3%, according to a survey by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policies.